My Top 5 Surprising Takes on Typical Book Tropes

For Top 5 Wednesday, this week’s discussion topic centers around book tropes that were presented in a refreshing way. Unlike many of my fellow readers, I tend to have no hard feelings about tropes. However, I want to present the biggest surprises I have encountered while reading stories that could’ve gone on a completely different route. I used some resources to nail some of the book tropes that connected with me best.


Book Trope #1: Ominous Prologue

The Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead

Easily high up on my Richelle Mead appreciation list, this book centered on a woman of color who is trying to be socioeconomically mobile within a colonial patriarchy. The book begins with the greatest prologue: “You! Girl! Don’t make another step, or I’ll run you through!”

Yes. I would like more of this book now, please.

It may have been more of an opening line, but, it was quite the hook.

Your Turn: what are your favorite absolute shocking book beginnings? Did they ever mislead you about the story? If you could, what is a combination of tonal shifts you’d like to see in a story’s prologue and its actual storyline?

Book Trope #2:  Love Triangles

Clockwork Angel (and The Infernal Devices as a trilogy) by Cassandra Clare

The most heartbreaking love triangle I’d ever read so far in my reading journey has to be this one around Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs, and Tessa Grey. Oh my goodness. Will and Jem are parabati-friends and warrior-comrades. They have an epic connection. Tessa comes in and BOOM everything is complicated. Will is a tortured soul with a sarcastic coldness to him. Jem, sweet and kind, weakened by an illness/addiction, plays the violin. I mean, come on. The violin!

And yet, he brings out the most tender love out of his friend Will Herondale. Will says this to him, “If I could tear myself in half, I would-that half of me might remain with you and half follow Tessa-”

Excuse me while I cry about the most deliciously agonizing love triangle ever. I do think the Dark Artifices may have a rivaling love triangle, but it’s not quite up there yet. I shall see what happens in the final book of that trilogy before I make up my mind.

Your Turn: What elements make a love story compelling to you? Have you found stories that do them justice?

Book Trope #3: Token Diverse Character(s)

The Hate U Give By Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas completely took the token diverse character trope and spun it right on its head. I think what was absolutely stunning about this novel was that it had an almost Inception-like set of layers through which the main character Starr existed.

If anything, Starr is a token diverse character in her family’s neighborhood, as someone who goes to a mostly-white school, and as one of the very few people of color within her school life.

And, Thomas is very aware of how this type of isolation may affect a person. But, then, I think also Starr’s diversity stems from her shock and fear of speaking out against this terrible thing she witnesses, a thing that many may have become desensitized around already.

By the way: for more on diversity and why it matters, check out this post, this one, and this one.  

Furthermore: you may be interested to see the trailer for this book’s adaptation.

Your Turn: There are many underrepresented minority groups out there. Do you have any significant storylines you want told from the perspective of a minority?

Book Trope #4: Someone Who Was Secretly Royal The Whole time

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Um. Listen, Nikolai was a game changer in these books, and people loved him so much, he’s getting his own book(s). (For more on that, read here). While I will always cherish the Darkling, I thought of Nikolai as a compelling, charming, and curiously mysterious fellow. He just brought so much light to Alina’s life.

There’s an aura of sadness and grief within him that adds depth to his character. I mean, he says things like this: “I hope you weren’t looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret.”

Long live Nikolai.

We just had an epic royal wedding take hold of the media’s attention. Do you have any favorite royal-love stories? (It can be fictional or real).

Book Trope #5: Multicolored Eyes

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab

I hate sounding so repetitive but maybe I’ll surprise you in this one last trope for the post. Beautiful and wild Lila Bard had such an interesting twist on this book trope. I am trying not to spoil the actual manifestation of the Antari mythology in her life.

Everything about Lila Bard’s incorporation into this power system that was in place within this series of Londons, it all humanized her but did not take away from her uniqueness at the same time.

Let’s talk about characters who have visual special needs. Please share your favorites in comments. I don’t think I have read more than two stories that feature any kind of different representation of vision.

I want to end this article, which I know is getting exceedingly long, with this interesting re-imagining of book tropes. Check it out.




    Today's Top 5 Wednesday is all about science fiction and fantasy authors. More
    In my early days of reading for pleasure regularly, I was mostly relying
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awk. 30s. hufflepuff, muslim, vegan, novice yogi, mental health, photography, book blogger, she/her

Author: dinasoaur

awk. 30s. hufflepuff, muslim, vegan, novice yogi, mental health, photography, book blogger, she/her

3 thoughts on “My Top 5 Surprising Takes on Typical Book Tropes”

  1. Great list, Dina! I definitely agree with The Infernal Devices. Team Jem -just saying… I still haven’t read The Hate U Give, someone help me!

    I don’t think I have read many books with different representation of vision either… I shall go and think about that, and possibly remedy it as soon as possible.

  2. Okay, I only read the two that contained books I’ve already read so as to avoid spoilers so can’t say too much, but from what I can tell good choices. 😉

    I do agree that the love triangle in the The Infernal Devices was quite strong. I didn’t love it as much as you did, unfortunately, just because for me I prefer authors to do something a bit more unexpected with the trope. But I know I’m one of the few who felt that way as most were torn apart by that love triangle (and how it ultimately ended, if I remember it correctly). I can’t think of a love triangle I especially enjoyed. I’m sure there must have been at least one I was consumed by but nothing comes to mind. (I think my issue is that those I do tend to go for, I usually end up picking the side that doesn’t get chosen by the MC, boo.)

    And the choice for the secret royal is definitely dead on. Like you, the Darkling is the main prince of my heart from that series, but I am quite intrigued by Nikolai and am looking forward to his story being published. I hope he continues to meet the expectations of all the girl readers falling head over heels over him already! 😛

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